By Expert Experience
Consulting, like most professions, requires training and practice. YourEncore has helped thousands of experts make this transition successfully and has compiled 10 tips for delighting your client every time.
Everything you disliked about consultants when you were inside a company is now a headwind. People will inherently distrust you and know you are costing them money. Furthermore, you will be missing key enablers that helped make you successful at your previous employer: established relationships, successful track record, and decision-making authority. Successful consultants adapt to these headwinds and earn trust by:
Your job as a consultant is to assess the situation and make a recommendation that drives business improvement. Successful consultants spend a lot of time defining the problem and ask purposeful questions to do so. Good questions also challenge or validate key assumptions, which clients may have overlooked. Before offering solutions, make sure you are solving the right problem.
Clients mostly turn to consultants when they lack the time or specific expertise to do the job themselves. In either case, consultants usually will enter a situation of ambiguity, where the client does not have all the answers. When faced with incomplete information, effective consultants act as guides to help the client make the best decision possible. Document information that is needed and outline a plan to gather that information. If you can’t get the information you need, make some educated, evidence-based assumptions and recommend a path based on your experience.
Consultants have the distinct disadvantage of not knowing the situational context, which should shape any proposed work plan or recommendation. Successful consultants quickly assess the unique situation in front of them and adjust their tone, approach, and recommendations accordingly. When entering a new client, it’s important to understand:
Barbara Minto was a McKinsey partner, who wrote the Minto Pyramid Principle. This has become a go-to resource for logical structuring and effective consulting communication, which is a foundational training for many large strategy consulting firms. Good ideas are not enough – you need to present them crisply and logically to deliver the most impact from your work. Minto gives you a repeatable blueprint to be a successful communicator.